Ask.com: What differentiates it from Google?

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts Other Features & ConclusionAsk.com also says it does social search, but rather than rely on user tagging – whichthey say is only popular in niche tech circles (e.g. del.icio.us and Flickr) – Ask.comlets its algorithm do the work. It does this by breaking terms down into groups andpresenting the results to the user. If you do asearch on gardening for example, you’ll see how it is broken down into multiplecategories.Ask.com also has the usual search portal (circa 2006) features – mobile, maps, news,blogs, binoculars (page preview), etc. There are subtle differences in all of thosefeatures when compared to Google, Yahoo and MSN. But ultimately I have to ask (pardon thepun): is Ask.com ‘next generation’ enough to challenge the big 3 plus AOL?I do like the concept of ExpertRank and their willingness to get as much useful infoon the first page of search results as possible. It seems like an innovative approach andcertainly differentiates Ask from Google.But when it comes down to it, the results I see aren’t sufficiently differentto make me want to change. I suspect a lot of Google’s 50%+ market share of users feelsthe same. Ask.com is still a successful business though, even if they don’t manage tomake great inroads into the market. I’m sure Ask is not crying into its milk about being5th. I was told that currently over 20% of Ask’s entire search terms – and hundreds ofcategories – have a Smart Answer.Comparison of Ask with GoogleIf you compare Ask.com to Google, there are immediately some noticeable differences.An obvious one is that Ask.com puts its advertisements within the main content pane,instead of in a separate right-hand pane like Google does. So when you do a generalsearch in Ask, the right-hand pane is sometimes occupied by advanced search options. AlsoAsk often has their ‘smart answers’ (see above) at the top of the main pane. The effectof all this is to give the user more immediately useful information – and drill downoptions – on the first page of results. This is what Jim Lanzone meant at Web 2.0 Summitwhen hesaid that “Ask.com enables users to do more, faster.”Below are a couple of screenshots, showing a search on “new zealand” in Ask, followedby the same query in Google: A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… During the Web 2.0 Summit, I got a chanceto sit down with the team at Ask.com and find out moreabout their search engine. This was straight after a Summit session entitled ‘DisruptionOpportunity: Beating Google at Their Own Game’ – in which Ask CEO Jim Lanzone and SeniorVP of the Online Services Group at Microsoft (and ex-Ask CEO) Steve Berkowitz discussedwith John Battelle how they are competing with Google. R/WW’s coverage of thatsession ishere.Letting the stats do the talking…Whenever I talk to or meet Ask.com people, I always get the feeling they are a littlepissed off at the lack of attention they get from blogs. To compensate, out come thestats to prove how big they are. For example, they often make a point of saying thatAsk.com is the 5th biggestsearch engine in theUS – behind Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL. Also, Jim mentioned during the Summit sessionthat Ask is the 7thbiggest web property in the US – ahead of the likes of Amazon, NY Times andApple.So there’s no doubting that Ask.com is a significant player in the Web business – andI agree they don’t get their due for that. But what about the actual product – theAsk.com search engine. How does it stack up? I spoke to the team and took the searchengine for a test drive to find out…What really differentiates Ask from Google?I asked this of the Ask.com team, in our hallway meeting at the Summit. They told methat Ask’s technology “looks at the Web differently”. Whereas Google’s PageRank ranks itssearch results by popularity, Ask has something it calls “ExpertRank”. Essentially thisis an automated search algorithm (like Google has), but on top of that results areordered using topic communities and the editorial functions that create ‘Smart Answers’.While the ExpertRank formula is a secret sauce that Ask.com won’t divulge, they do saythat the top results in searches are determined by expertise – and not popularity. As itstates on their helppages:“Identifying topics (also known as “clusters”), the experts on those topics, and thepopularity of millions of pages amongst those experts — at the exact moment your searchquery is conducted — requires many additional calculations that other search engines donot perform.”Smart AnswersI was curious to know how ‘smart answers’ are determined. For a start, they don’t popup on every search result – for example a search for “richard macmanus” displays myprimary RSS feed at the top of the page, instead of a smart answer. The Ask team told methat smart answers are editorially done – and is a reminder of their natural languagepast. If you recall, Ask Jeeves (as it used to be known before the butler was fired, er Imean de-commissioned) started out as a search engine where you could ask a naturallanguage question – e.g. “what the heck is web 2.0?” – and get back a good answer. SmartAnswers is an extension of that philosophy of providing a natural language answer to auser’s search query. It does this by a combination of automated data mining and humaneditorial. But the human editors don’t physically write the answers, I was told – ratherthey act as aggregators and filters.center_img richard macmanus Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#search#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

HistoryPin Links Past, Present, Place, & Photos in a Powerful New Location App

first_imgThere’s an exhibit on display at the Museum of the City of New York currently, a series of photographs that chronicle some of the history of food carts in the Big Apple. It’s an interesting retrospective, a way to think about the “then and now” – the immigrant experience, our changing (and unchanging) dietary habits, the history of New York. The exhibit made for a great backdrop this evening for the official launch party for HistoryPin, a website that aims to link our personal family histories and photographic records with a larger story and to pin those photos and stories to Google Maps.Who was here, what was here before us? Where were our families? What did their world look like? What artifacts remain, and how can we connect these cultural remnants to people and places today? These questions can uncover a wealth of information of both personal and cultural value.HistoryPin has been in beta for a year, a creation of the U.K. non-profit We Are What We Do. HistoryPin officially launches today with the release of its Android app. (An iPhone app is on its way.) The site and the app let you view the history of a particular location, by taking historical photos and pinning them, as the name suggests, to Google Maps. You can also contribute their own photos – both present-day and family heritage photos – to the site.The app takes full advantages of many of the features of Google Maps, including not just pins but Street View and timelines. Using HistoryPin, you can search for photos, as well as for video and audio content, by place or by time. Historic images can be overlaid onto contemporary views of a particular location so you can see what happened there and what has changed. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… audrey watters Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market But “it isn’t just about the tech,” says Jesse Friedman, product manage for Google Earth and Google Maps, speaking at tonight’s launch event. “It’s about the stories.”Pinning Family History, Community History, National History Stories were what motivated HistoryPin co-founder Nick Stanhope to undertake the project, as he described the time spent with his Gran going through old family photos and listening to her stories. “How can we use history to start these sorts of conversations,” wondered Stanhope, to build relationships and to encourage “little bits of understanding.”That understanding is important both on a personal level, on a neighborhood level, and on a national level, as another speaker at this evening’s launch event pointed out. Community activist Martin Luther King III, son of the civil rights leader, spoke about the importance of sharing family history “as a universal experience.”Sharing Photos, Sharing Places: The Importance of Open DataLinking culture, memory, and justice was reiterated by the final speaker at tonight’s event, Harvard professor Laurence Lessig who spoke about the importance of sharing openly licensed photos rather than locking down content under regulations and licenses that deny the sorts of insights about the past that HistoryPin can uncover. For his part, Stanhope stresses the importance of open and linked data as part of HistoryPin’s project, making it possible for people and archives to share their photographs and for others in turn to reuse and remix that content for non-commercial purposes. (I’ve written about linked open data, location, and archival photographs before in my coverage of LookBackMaps, whose founder Jon Voss has joined HistoryPin.) Stanhope contends that this openness will enable the project to expand beyond just the “history buffs” to include the stories and the photos that we all have tucked away in our personal and family archives. Indeed, the open licensing might just do that. But to echo what Google’s Friedman said tonight: it’s not just the tech or the licensing that’s most powerful about HistoryPin. It’s the stories. Tags:#Location#web last_img read more

[Infographic] The Hype Versus Reality of HTML5 Deployment

first_imgRelated Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#HTML5#mobile Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementcenter_img dan rowinski What do we really know about HTML5? It is a Web based standard with the potential to create cross-platform apps that can run anywhere, everywhere. The key word here is potential. HTML5 is evolving and there is little doubt that it will be a major component of the future. That does not yet mean that developers have wholly embraced it. The native frameworks and (gasp) Flash still dominate much of what is run on Web and mobile applications. Flash is on its last legs but the fact of the matter is that it is still one of the prime standards for many of the applications we interact with on a daily basis. It is not like we flip a switch and all of a sudden everything is HTML5 based. Below we take a look at an infographic that examines some of the facts around HTML5 hype versus the current real world landscape. For faithful ReadWriteMobile readers that are used to checking in here to see the latest developments on what is happening with the HTML5 ecosystem, this infographic is going to make you a little angry. Even though I, as am objective reporter, am relatively platform and standards agnostic, it even angered me a little bit. Anybody that knows my opinion on infographics, I diligently fact check them to make sure they are not misleading or blatantly lying. While some of the information on this particular infographic is a little dated, the general theme is spot on: yes, HTML5 is still in adoption phase and is outpaced by the native frameworks. While this is true, the signs of change are in the air. Even Adobe admitted that mobile Flash is a dead fish and the last instance of it to be released will be run on Android Ice Cream Sandwich devices. Adobe itself is moving to create HTML5 and other Web-based tools for desktop and mobile applications. The source of the infographic is a Washington-state based Zipline Games, makers of the Moai Cloud service for games. Moai Cloud 1.0 will be released March 23rd. The CEO of Zipline is Todd Hooper who has been fairly outspoken that HTML5 will not be the future for Web or mobile games. Hooper does have a point. When it comes to performance of applications, games set the benchmark. At this point, HTML5 is just not ready for games. Does that mean it is not the future? That is difficult to ascertain. Say what you want about standards bodies and their actual usefulness, but HTML5 is certainly not ready for the official stamp of approval. Layered sound is a major issue and frame rates tend to lag behind other standards. While Sencha and appMobi among others attempt to improve HTML5 performance, game developers struggle to make do with what the standard allows. Check out the infographic below and let us know what you think about the future of HTML5 in games in the comments. Also stay tuned for a Q&A with Hooper coming early next week. The full high resolution image can be found here. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more